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Reviewed January 19, 2013

Stay was 9 days, just me & my college daughter. Stayed in block 3, and if we didn't just sleep, change & shower there I would've absolutely upgraded. They said the block 4 & 5 were fully booked (I hear they are nicer rooms).
ROOM - no clock, no radio, TV had few English shows. Fridge was useless, it didn't keep the water any colder than if it was sitting out all night. Musty smelling (packed some sprays & candles, that helped).
HOUSEKEEPING- did the minimum. No clean sheets, didn't give us new glasses, the ice bucket was pointless since there was no ice machines to use. They kept forgetting to lock our patio door & we were on the 1st floor so IMPORTANT! I had locked everything up except a few disposable water cameras were were going to use the next day on excursion & 1 went missing...hmmm. They didn't seem to 'wash' the shower or glass in the shower either. Pretty much made the beds, gave new towels & water & swept.
STAFF- we found a few great staff that helped us but then there were others that were TERRIBLE. Made the departure unpleasant since the guest service lady was rude - refused to call into our travel rep, then said couldn't reach anyone & didn't know what else to do ...then she left for her break so we were stuck figuring it out ourselves.
HOTEL/RESORT - they do try & make daily activities which is great for the kids but it's the same thing day after day. Just like their evening show....good attempts but for a 9 day stay it got boring really quick. The disco was a joke, brought be back to the 80s & no American music. They really need to try & do events on the beach at night for the adults.
FOOD/BARS- I was told this has a swim up bar...NO. The beach bar is there but had a trainee that screwed up 1/2 the time. (Maybe it was language barrier too?) No where did anyone offer to get us refills when we sat on the beach or near the pool ...which is what I expected when I booked this. They had plenty of bars & very good bartenders most of the time. FOOD...the buffet was OK. Nothing spectacular. The 2 open restaurants, nicer dress code, no reservations were quite good but for 9 days we got tired of those too. The snack bar near the beach had hamburgers/hots/pizza & french fries daily until about 4pm but being American I didn't think it was all that great. Only really enjoyed the FF daily. DOWNFALL... no snacks or open food places from about 4pm to 6:30pm (when dinner opened). Bars didn't open til 10am & if you got up at 6:30 for sunrise & were on the hot beach til 9am, you were ready sooner!
The Cayena Beach club /VIP place next door was pushy...and had the 'good' restaurant with lobster, better seafood but I wasn't willing to pay their prices so we passed.
The staff pushing the excursions was bad. We had a few booked but daily they would still bug us.
WATER/BEACH/POOL - great! Beautiful water & beach, nice pool, grounds were beautiful & they did keep up on keeping the grounds & beach clean.
OTHER DOWNFALLS: being American there was big language barrier & not being use to smoking openly, that was irritating, all the smokers freely smoking...and not just tobacco!
Overall I give this a 3 out of 5. Sounds like I didn't enjoy it but I did. Again, on a Mom/Daughter trip where all we wanted was hot sunny beach it suited our needs. BUT if I were going as a family or romantic getaway with hubby then I'd do the 5 star resorts, step it up. Excursions...DON"T book with reservations, wait til you get there & see what the weather is like. Our Bavara Splash was cancelled & couldn't do it because of rough waters over all 9 days. The Carribean Festival was great but that was cancelled 1 day too...so had to rebook.
SHOPS/ NEGOTIATE!!!! They don't give you price til you are ready to check out & it seems they double everything so it was frustrating that we felt like we were being ripped off for items...Tshirts, cigars, beach wraps, even the fridge magnets were almost $7!! Crazy on the prices.

Room Tip: Block 1 & 2 closest to the lobby, furthest from the beach. Block 3 in the middle..but garden view only & basic rooms. Block 4 close to pool, block 5 closest to beach with ocean view. BRING A BOOK, bring a deck of cards, bring a good travel mug for the cold drinks to keep sand out while on the beach.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank Kimberly C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VHAB, Public Relations Manager at VIK Hotel Arena Blanca, responded to this reviewResponded January 26, 2013

Dear customer,

We want to thank you for your preference in selecting our Vik hotel Arena Blanca for your vacations, as well for letting us know about your recent visit; in our effort to continuously improve the quality of our services and facilities, we put our greatest interest and value in our guest’s opinion, as a company committed to get the total satisfaction of our guests.

Sincerely,

Francisco Amancio E.
Guest services Manager
Vik hotel Arena Blanca.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013 via mobile

My favorite part of vacations is laying out on the beach, and this resort definitely had a beautiful beach! But prepared to be hassled by people trying to sell you things. 20 times worse than in Mexico! Too many hustlers on the beach. The resort contracts the people and gets a cut of the profits, so the nicer resorts you won't have the same problem. My parents stayed at Iberostar and had no one bothering them! Drinks are horrible. You have to go to 3 different bars to get enough alcohol for one drink. Just sugary stuff with a dash of alcohol. Had to bring my own bottle of vodka to get any type of effect from their drinks. No one speaks English. Food is AWFUL! I threw up in the bathroom after eating because it made me sick. Spend the extra couple hundred dollars to stay somewhere nicer. Casino is a ripoff. Airport is a joke. Some jerk grabbed my bags and took off and then demanded a tip. Next time I will be going back to mexico

  • Stayed: January 2013
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5  Thank eastwood8300
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VHAB, Public Relations Manager at VIK Hotel Arena Blanca, responded to this reviewResponded January 26, 2013

Dear guest,

We would like to thank you for your preference in selecting our Vik hotel Arena Blanca for your vacations, as well for letting us know about your recent visit; In our effort to continuously improve the quality of our services and facilities, we put our greatest interest and value in our guests’ opinion.
We regret that our hotel didn’t meet your expectations.

Sincerely,

Francisco Amancio E.
Guest services Manager
Vik hotel Arena Blanca.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013

I booked this hotel based upon my last stay here 8 years ago. I am writing this sitting in the lobby waiting for my flight out. Here goes.
The good. - upgraded rooms in building 4, the beach is still very nice, the coffee machines still work great and the maids still do a good job. The kids club mini disco is fun.
The bad - well we booked a superior ocean view room and ended up with a partial view of the ocean on the second floor mostly of the pool view. This resort now caters mostly to French guests from Paris. They have a club called lookie or something like that that is always blasting music from the pool side so you cannot nap in the afternoon. We had a toddler with us and this was a needed thing. The Italian restaurant was a hit and miss. The first time we went it was good, second the forgot our appies, didn't get our drinks and got no real service. The first week the staff around was quite rude but by the second week the got better. The front lobby staff is extremely rude especially the checkout girl. And don't bother to try and talk to the manager about any issues that may arise as he is also completely useless.
The offered my mother a complimentary diner to a restaurant because her husband has previously stayed with the Vik hotel group before, they didn't bother to offer me the same and I was the one that had stayed here when it was LTI 8 years ago and got our family to come. When we asked if they could add us they "the manager" said sorry its all full. Give me a break.
This place was so much better 8 years ago. We will not be returning ever again.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank missvaliant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2013

Just for back from a stay at the VIK Arena Blanca Hotel from 1/10 - 1/14. It was just an okay resort.

Service is not so good. We would wait for drinks at the buffet and ala carte restaurants longer than expected. We had to ask 3 different waitresses for a beer. Coffee at breakfast always came after we were done eating.

The beach is beautiful and picturesque.

The activities are lacking. The crew that does them doesn't seem to ever be around. Also there is never any music playing by the pool.

The food is pretty bad. A lot of the meat taste like there is too much vinigar.

The shows at night were good, and entertaining. The disco at night was 50/50. Some nights it was full, other there was noone in there.

Be aware, no one really speaks English.

I had an upgraded room in block 4. It was lovely and clean.

The pool is big. The jacuzzi is not actually warm water, it's just the pool water.

Its all small stuff lacking, but stuff that makes the experience .

I would NOT recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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2  Thank Lindz324
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VHAB, Public Relations Manager at VIK Hotel Arena Blanca, responded to this reviewResponded January 26, 2013

Dear guest,

Thank you so much for sharing your vacation experience with us on Tripadvisor.
We are always happy to know all our guests’ opinion regarding our services, because by this way we can improve our services quality and grow, as a company committed to get the total satisfaction of our guests.
We are sorry that our food quality did not meet your expectations and your comments will be taken into consideration. Thank you so much for bringing these comments to our attention so that we can continue to improve our service.

Sincerely,

Francisco Amancio E.
Guest services Manager
Vik hotel Arena Blanca.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2013

So I went here with a group of 6 girls for a 30th birthday party. We ended up having a fun time but....would I suggest it to someone else? Not at all. To be fair, we are all Manhattanites and are use to certain conveniences not offered elsewhere. If you do decide to go, here are a list of pros, cons, and tips to make your experience somewhat more enjoyable:

Pros:
-We did an all inclusive package from cheapcarribean.com. For $800 a person, flights, rooms, drinks, and food were included
-The beach is absolutely breathtaking
-Great weather/friendly staff/speedy check in
-They don't try to push the whole "buy a time share, get a free meal" thing on you
-Shuttle service from the airport is fast and efficient and tipping only a few dollars is fine
-The DR uses the USD as well as the Dominican Peso so you don't have to exchange your money
-You cannot drink the water but cups and purified water are available at every bar. You also get 2 large bottles in your room that can be refilled.
-Huge pool (no hot tubs or swim up bars though)
-For $2 a night you can rent a safe to put your passports/ipads/etc. in.
-You won't need cash. I do not lie when I say that no one is offended if you don't tip.
-Not a huge deal if you lose your room key. They'll gladly replace it for you at the front desk.
-Offer serve-yourself coffee by the bars in the morning. Excellent for those who can't communicate until they're caffinated.
-You may have to order 4 drinks at a time but they won't judge or complain!
-You won't get in trouble. Our first night we were so stoked to be there. After a few drinks, we went skinny dipping in the ocean and snuck into the pool after hours. Employees will ask you to leave in a very kind and respective manner.

Cons:
-The food is TERRIBLE and not offered very often. There are strange times as to when things open and restaurants have hip names to disquise the fact that they are just all you can eat buffets...Seriously, the best thing we had the entire time was rice. One of my friends only ate fries. 90% of our calories were alcohol consumption. Seriously seriously seriously bring cliff bars...by the time we got back to the USA all of us were ravenous and devoured anything and everything that we could find. If you are catering to children, hotdogs, hamburgers, and fries are always available. They are floating in grease and gross. Seriously, how do you manage to mess up a hotdog?
-Sorry excuses for bars and clubs. All of the restaurants and clubs have this hip, decieving names. We were starving by the time we got in at 10 pm and decided to hit up the one bar that serves food. It was literally sandwiches in a cooler that you can heat up with a panini press and 4 ounce plastic cups of beer/a small shot of rum and whatever sugary mixed concoction you choose.The club is empty, no one speaks english, and the music is ALL hispanic. Not that I'm against a little Latina dancing, but I don't know how to salsa (plus side is the dj will happily take requests!...if you bring them a cocktail).
-The rooms. hard mattresses to the point of being harmful to your back. No wifi. Smell like mildew. No bath products. I had to buy a $14 bottle of shampoo in the gift shop. Bad lighting. Sterile. No art on the walls. Not enough towels. We literally had to beg for a 3rd towel (we had three people to a room). The maids come at 7:30 so if you're partying, be prepared to yell at someone in the morning.
-They don't warn you about not drinking the water in some rooms, others they do. Don't drink the water!
-This sounds a bit superficial but no one is attractive. If you're going with a significant other that's all well and good but we were there to dance, flirt, have flings. The visitors here really look like they belong at an applebees in middle america. Don't expect a carribean romance to blossom.
-That being said, there really isn't anything to do but lounge by the pool, walk on the beach, and drink. No cultural experiences whatsoever. Good for a few days, not a week.
-The airport is atrocious. It's like the hunger games where they throw a crowd of people into a huge room with no instructions and you have to fend for yourself to get to your terminal. Expect to wait in a huge line during immigration, another huge line to have your picture taken, and another one to get back through security. GET THERE AT LEAST THREE HOURS EARLY!
-Hard Rock is better but you're not allowed there. We heard the clubs and restaurant at Hard Rock were great so we decided to go there and BUY a nice meal and dance and have real drinks. Guess again. You are allowed in the casino but you have to gamble. The restaurant is closed to people who are not all inclusive guests so we have to buy deli sandwiches. We got into the club but were promptly kicked out for not being guests even though we were ready and willing to pay for our drinks.

Tips:
-Bring a book! If you aren't partying, you'll get a LOT of reading done.
-Sneak into the princess resort! If you go out to the beach and walk towards the right (facing the ocean) you'll come across the princess resort. We stopped in to use the restroom and noticed they have the same color wristbands:) The princess serves proper drinks, has table service, and has a chef cooking up mussels and calamari pool side. We ended up spending the entire afternoon here at a table enjoying proper, refreshing cocktails, good service, and good food.
-Lower your expectations! After we realized we weren't staying at the Standard in Miami, we relaxed and enjoyed good conversation and fun. Really good place for a basic girls trip! Really bad place for a honeymoon!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank kdsancken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VHAB, Public Relations Manager at VIK Hotel Arena Blanca, responded to this reviewResponded January 26, 2013

Dear customer,

We would like to thank you for your preference in selecting our Vik hotel Arena Blanca for your vacations, as well for letting us know about your recent visit; In our effort to continuously improve the quality of our services and facilities, we put our greatest interest and value in our guests’ opinion.
We regret that our hotel didn’t meet your expectations.

Sincerely,

Francisco Amancio E.
Guest services Manager
Vik hotel Arena Blanca.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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